5 Must-Read Books for Women Who Think

5-must-read-books-for-women-who-thinkOne of my readers recently criticized me for promoting what she considers oppressive and archaic beliefs regarding marriage and motherhood.

“Read something – anything
– on feminism,”
she pleaded. “Learn to respect yourself, then you can respect others.”

Of course, this is a cleaned-up version of what she actually wrote. Her original comment was so riddled with expletives and venomous slurs that it made me wonder what, exactly, her notion of “respecting others” entailed.

But that is beside the point.

As it happens, I had already read half a dozen books on feminism, but her suggestion sent me searching Amazon for new titles of interest. That’s where I found the book I just finished reading: The Flipside of Feminism, by Suzanne Venker and Phyllis Schlafly.

This book — like the other four listed alongside it — is too good not to share. The authors examine feminism in light of common sense and expose it for the failed social experiment it is.

No intellectually honest person can look at the aftermath of the sexual revolution — rampant venereal disease and abortion, escalating rates of single motherhood and the abject poverty that it fosters, and coin-toss marriage survival rates — and not recognize that something is amiss.

That something is our godless worldview, of which feminism is a major component.

In my mind, buying into feminism is a lot like smoking cigarettes. While I understand why someone who has smoked two packs a day for the past 50 years might have a hard time kicking the habit, I am dumbfounded that anyone not already addicted to nicotine would ever take their first drag in this day and age, knowing what we now know about tobacco’s causal link to lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease, and a host of other devastating illnesses.

In the same way, I find it incredulous that anybody who has witnessed firsthand the destruction and despair that follow in the wake of feminism would continue to cling to such a bankrupt ideology.

Yet cling they do, and with dogged persistence.

If these women could leave off chanting their antiquated rhetoric long enough, they would hear the cries and whimpers of the modern class of victims their manifesto has created — victims that include their own children, everyone on the planet with a Y-chromosome, and ultimately the feminists themselves.

To be sure, some espouse feminist ideals because they patently believe in them, but I suspect much of our society cooperates solely for the sake of remaining politically correct. They can see as well as the next person the mess this radical movement has made of things, yet they keep their thoughts to themselves and watch on in silence.

But perhaps that is about to change.

The whispers are beginning to circulate, and the crowd is starting to stir. The status quo has been boldly challenged by books such as these — books that say what we already know in our hearts to be true: “Feminism is a bust. The emperor has no clothes.”

For a fresh look at feminism, don’t miss these five favorites:

flipside-of-feminismTHE FLIPSIDE OF FEMINISM:
What Conservative Women Know — and Men Can’t Say

by Suzanne Venker and Phyllis Schlafly

Excerpt: “Most important, we must begin by telling… the truth about what feminism has done. After all, no society can thrive — or survive — when half its members believe they’re oppressed and the other half are told there’s no reason for them to exist…. It’s time to end the war between the sexes. Men are not the enemy…. Americans aren’t used to hearing [but deserve to know] that women are the fortunate sex, or that ‘hooking up’ is wrong (and foolish), or that happy lifetime marriages are attainable, or that staying home to care for one’s children is a noble and worthwhile endeavor, or that men in America are the real second-class citizens.”


what-our-mothers-didnWHAT OUR MOTHERS DIDN’T TELL US:
Why Happiness Eludes the Modern Woman

By Danielle Crittenden

Excerpt: “It may be true that 30 years ago shockingly discriminatory attitudes towards women in the workplace prevailed, and we are all thankful to be rid of them. But in their place have risen some shockingly discriminatory attitudes towards women who wish to have children without neglecting them (as exemplified by Hillary Clinton’s remark, ‘I suppose I could’ve stayed home and baked cookies’). And it is these attitudes that have made it difficult for a woman today to occupy either sphere of work or home completely happily, without feeling guilty and exhausted in one or insecure and underappreciated in the other.”


return-to-modestyA RETURN TO MODESTY:
Discovering the Lost Virtue

by Wendy Shalit

Excerpt: “Modesty acknowledged [a woman’s] special vulnerability, and protected it. It made women equal to men as women. Encouraged to act immodestly, a woman exposes her vulnerability and she then becomes, in fact, the weaker sex. A woman can argue that she is exactly the same as a man, she may deny having any special vulnerability, and act accordingly, but I cannot help noticing that she usually ends up exhibiting her feminine nature anyway, only this time in victimhood, not in strength.”

Note: Shalit’s follow-up book, Girls Gone Mild, is also a very enlightening read.


case-for-marriageTHE CASE FOR MARRIAGE:
Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially

by Linda J. Waite and Maggie Gallagher

Excerpt: “[A]t the heart of the unacknowledged war on marriage is the attampt to demote marriage from a unique public commitment — supported by law, society, and custom — to a private relationship, terminable at will, which is nobody else’s business. This demolition is done in the name of choice, but as we shall see… reimagining marriage as a purely private relation doesn’t expand anyones’s choices. For what it ultimately takes away from individuals is marriage itself, the choice to enter that uniquely powerful and life-enhancing bond that is larger and more durable than the immediate, shifting feelings of two individuals.”


prudePRUDE:
How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Damages Girls (and America, Too!)

by Carol Platt Liebau

Excerpt: “When a girl’s attention is directed primarily to her appearance, there’s less time for her to pursue other interests and develop other skills that can serve as sources of self-esteem. When she’s learned to garner male attention simply by displaying her body, it’s less likely that she’ll develop the other common qualities that are conducive to strong relationships and lasting happiness; indeed, a lifetime of focusing primarily on her own appearance in body — and automatically expecting men to do so as well — can make it difficult to form deep, lasting bonds with any man.”


So there they are: Five of my favorite books on feminism. (You’ll find four more of them here.) What are your favorite books for thinking through these issues? I’d love for you to share them in the comments below.


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80 thoughts on “5 Must-Read Books for Women Who Think

  1. Ok. So as a Christian woman, I get not being ok with sleeping around or the high divorce rate, but if you’re for equal pay, being treated with respect, not being talked down to because you’re a woman, getting to vote, or getting an education, guess what? You’re a Feminist! Feminism is about being treated like a person that has equal rights to everyone else in society. You can be a Christian and be a Feminist, and just so you know, the reason you’re allowed to write and express your opinions against Feminism is thanks to early Feminists.

    • By your definition, Rachel, I am indeed a feminist. But some of the more militant members of the Feminist Movement would disagree strongly with this assessment, because I also believe in complementary roles for husband and wife and in a Biblical hierarchy of authority within the family.

  2. You seem to have a very flawed understanding of the word feminism therefore you should probably not be giving anyone advice on the topic. Enjoy your under evolved books.

  3. Men get paid more on average for the same job as a women no matter what qualifications. These books are suggesting the women must change when it is in fact the system that has to. I am not sure you have a clear understand on what feminism is.

  4. Feminism isn’t about choosing work over family or revelling in your sexuality. Feminism is about YOU being able to choose motherhood & marriage and ME being able to choose to not get married or have children. Feminism is understanding that these are life choices and have more to do with being a human than with being a woman.To me being a woman is so much more magical than whether i work outside the home or how short i feel like wearing my skirt ( fyi➡depends on the day & my mood)To be honest, i agree that the world was a better place when there was a parent at home focused on making that home a safe & happy place. I think feminism is simply asking why that parent must be the mother? Why can’t Dad stay home? I find that insulting to all the great dads out there. My Dad stayed home with my little sister & she is the most confident, well adjusted, happy woman i know.
    To me, feminism is simply understanding that a woman has the right to make decisions about her life based on what feels right to her, not on what she is told she must do because she was born with a vagina.

  5. Feminism, as you say, is not a bust. Perhaps, strange though you may think it your reasoning behind why we’re in a ‘godless’ world has nothing to do with feminism. You don’t think that people have abortions or get divorced? Unfortunately, I think that just shows that people were unhappy before being baby machines and stuck in unhappy marriages. Divorce has also been around for a long time.
    I am actually so hurt to read what you wrote. As a 22 year old woman at university, I can tell you that I see incredibly oppressive attitudes every day, and no, feminism is not the cause of them. Both men and women suffer greatly from the stereotypes imposed upon them and many are too in trenches that we run away from the idea of change.
    I must also point out that the name of this article is ridiculous, as all humans have the capacity to think – therefore, there are no women who do not think unless they are technically all but dead.
    It’s very easy to blame everything on feminism, and frankly after reading what you said about the comment that prompted your article I figured you wouldn’t be just as nasty about people. Alas, you wording is incredibly offensive without quite hitting the blatant swearing, you just manage to come across as a feeling superior.
    By all means do not agree, but to say that feminism is useless or a bust is wholly laughable in today’s world. I really hope I never have to read anything of yours again.

    • I agree that all humans have the capacity to think. I do not believe all humans utilize that capacity as fully as they ought. Many, for instance, are so eager to fit in and feel accepted that they blindly adopt the latest groupthink ideals without carefully weighing their merit or considering their consequences. Sadly, this seems especially true on college campuses.

      • Sadly, just as many trying to convince themselves that the life they chose is somehow superior to others. You might want to consider that your projection on others could be a helpful mirror for your own limited ideas and social constructs.

    • I also really dislike this article. I feel very upset that this showed up recommended for me. However, I am interested in reading the books because I, nor do any of my college friends, blindly accept “groupthink ideals.” Feminism is not a social experiment, it is a social movement toward equality. Feminism simply means equality among the sexes. It does not mean there is no value in domestic life. It fights to give women the option to choose what type of life they wish to pursue. I hope you eventually pick up a book on feminism – all waves – to learn a bit more about what you so blindly disregard as an illness. Feminism is freedom.

  6. Feminism gave a woman choice. A woman can choose now how to lead her life. A woman at last has an opportunity to become independent. If a woman wants to be a housewife and to devote her life to her family, husband and children – nobody is against it. But if she doesn’t want – she must have a choice. So, I disagree with this article. There are always two sides in the coin. And of course, many examples of unhappy marriages can be given. So, we can’t give one decision for all women. It is not about feminism, it is about choice and happiness. If a woman is happy with family and children – it is great! If she is happy alone in her work and hobbies – it is great too.

  7. Wow! There sure are a lot of strong women here. Some have a little more biased thoughts, but they are their thoughts AND they were able to voice them. Isn’t that great! Think about that for a moment. If it were not for social media, how many if you would have felt confident enough to have a conversation of this nature face to face.

    Looking back at one of the book referrals: Revolutionary Heart: The Life of Clarina Nichols and the Pioneering Crusade for Women’s Rights by Diane Eickhoff, shows how pioneer women tried their damnedest to surpass the suppression of the era. Bravo! Go deeper into history…Mother Theresa… Queen Victoria… Joan of Arc…etc. These are examples of feminism in action. They didn’t sell themselves short by using their bodies to make others bend to their will. Cleopatra, maybe…

    I don’t think the intent of the 60’s rise of feminism was all about sex. It became intwined with the other socio-economic uprisings that were happening. The thought behind those like Gloria Steinem was to let women have the choice. Don’t forget, it was only a couple of decades previous that women were needed to take the jobs of men in factories during the war, to keep the country moving. My grandmother was one who watched over children of some of these women. She felt pride in knowing she was respected for her home skills. I was proud of her too!

    So once the dust has settled, it is important for women to be strong. Strong in faith, family, integrity, empathy, education and belief. The skills that each woman desire should be ones that gain the respect and love of those who are closest to them, but more so, make them feel good about themselves.

    Another comment was made about the sex orientated society and how we push men and women to be…I really don’t know what word to use…Our bodies and false images do not define who we are. They only mask what we are to become.

    I honestly could continue this comment for pages, but will cut it off here. Value the talents that you have been given. You are an amazing host.

    • Nicely said Liz. I was having a similar feeling while reading the article and the comments that followed. How beautiful and privileged we are as humans, people, women or men, feminism or conspiracy theories to be able to express ourselves openly, across countries & oceans. This is the future. I can not deny I still become giddy remembering that I can purchase or borrow a book with just one click. I become overwhelmed when I read a comment and the writer uses different slang or sentence structure because it shows how close I am to another human being who is literally thousands of miles away. And it goes without saying how miraculous it is that I am doing all this on my phone. So while it seems we are focused on an important subject followed by strong & honest opinions. It is easy to forget how far we have come along in communications, technology and even etiquette. We are living in the future now and we are discussing something without fear or consequences with people we’ve never met. We have evolved together. Strong woman to strong woman. That is what I like about this discussion.

  8. I believe feminism at it’s truest form is values “domestic work” (typically woman’s work in the home) to be equally as important to a healthy functioning society, as is work outside of the home (typically man’s work). Regardless of what gender is completing that task, feminism argues that no matter the specifics of our individual role, roles are viewed as equivalent in value to society, and hence forth everyone who fullfills a contributing role, deserves the right to have an equal voice in society.
    Feminism didn’t cause any of the negative things that you have mentioned in society. People who are afraid of the power of feminism’s humbling ideological value on equivalency, people who fight so valiantly to hold onto the false security of their place in patriarchal society’s hierarchy, are the real instigators of the depravity we see in society today, not Feminism.

    • I agree with your first point, Haley — domestic work is important and valuable, regardless which gender does it. I even agree with your second point, if by feminism you mean the simple belief that women are equal to men in worth and value and should be treated with dignity and respect — such thinking did not lead to the problems we see in society today. I strongly disagree with your third point, though, nor do I believe it logically follows from the first two. Rather, I would submit that the real cause of the depravity you mention is that too many people, both men and women, have tried to divorce their public personas from their private lives, acting as if the way they behave (or misbehave) in one has no bearing on the other. But that is a mistake. Actions have consequences, and the things we do not only affect other areas of our own lives, but inevitably affect those around us, as well.

  9. Feminism didn’t cause anything. People did. Because feminism’s battles have been for education, better working conditions, rape crisis centers, THE VOTE and all that.
    What caused the problems in our world were people- because many of them didn’t choose God.

  10. The definition of feminism is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” See that equality. It is not about making men feel inferior. Also if I want to hook up with someone that does not make me weak and frankly it is nobody else’s business. Same goes for if I want to wait till marriage. The point is feminism gives you that choice. Books like these just prove that feminism is still relevant in today’s society.

    • The term “feminism” carries a lot of connotations beyond the dictionary definition you’ve so graciously provided, Lena. That is why many of its more radical proponents would consider me an enemy of feminism, although I deeply believe that both men and women are created equal and deserve to be treated as such, with dignity, honor, and respect.

      I beg to differ on a few points, though, with your comments regarding sex:

      1. If you contract certain STDs from indiscriminate sexual encounters, you will find that hooking up may indeed “make you weak” — at least in regards to physical health and stamina.

      2. In that other people are affected by the sexual decisions you make today (including your future husband and children, not to mention the families of the partners you sleep with), then what you do really is somebody else’s business. Actions have consequences, and those consequences rarely affect only one person. Some actions cause a ripple effect, and some cause a tidal wave, so be careful and choose wisely.

      3. Feminism didn’t give you “that choice” — God did. It’s called free will, and people have been exercising it for good or bad since the dawn of time. If you’ll learn from the mistakes of those who’ve gone before you, perhaps you can avoid falling into the same pits.

  11. As soon as you start talking about god your opinion of feminism can be discounted as completely irrelevant. Religion, the drug of the masses, has no bearing on gender equality. It has no business being part of any discussion on feminism. It’s a prime example of sexist drivel. Not to mention, people that believe in god have been shown to have markedly lower intelligence levels than people who do not. They are sort of on the same level as people who believe in Santa. Just saying.

    • You are certainly entitled to your opinion, Vivenne, but you come across as extremely close-minded when it comes to matters of religion — and since being close-minded has never been viewed as a mark of high intelligence, you may want to tone down the anti-religion rhetoric just a bit.

      I try very hard to never discount anybody as “completely irrelevant” — although I do as you have done and give consideration to the worldview and presuppositions from which they speak or write. The fact that you are quoting Karl Marx to me tells me something about your philosophical approach to life and naturally affects how I interpret the rest of your comments — but it does not mean I automatically write off everything you say.

      I’d be very interested in seeing the studies you reference — the ones that show “people who believe in God have markedly lower intelligence levels than people who do not.” Could you please send me a few links? Of course, I’ve seen reports that indicate a person with a high IQ is more likely to be an atheist. Unfortunately, the rules of logic preclude our inferring from that proposition that atheists are more likely to have a high IQ (P–>Q does not necessitate Q–>P, so if you’ve adopted atheism just because you think it makes you look smarter, think again). Nor does the notion that intelligent people are more likely to adopt atheism suggest any sort of 1-1 correspondence, and therefore does not rule out the existence of thinkers who are both highly intelligent and religious (at least eight of the ten highest IQs in the world belong to people who fit this description).

      Much more disturbing than the link between high IQ and atheism is the correlation between high IQ and depression/suicide. Perhaps that has something to do with the idea that by throwing God out of the equation, many otherwise brilliant thinkers have also thrown out any sense of hope, purpose, joy, or absolute truth. What do you think?

    • I’m just wondering what kind of scientific evidence you have for this? Because I have read a lot of studies showing the opposite.

    • I do not know if belief correlates with intelligence, however I agree that religion is not related to the discussion on feminisim. In my opinion, religion is not the solution to any problem. I think that every person should have a choice in life, and that not all choices with consequences need to be labeled as “bad”. After all, life is messy.

      • In that the tenets of secular humanism or of atheism constitute a belief system as dogmatic as any other religion or philosophy, Pitrak, it is impossible to discuss feminism (or ANY topic, for that matter) WITHOUT allowing our personal beliefs to filter in and influence the discussion. So I would respectfully disagree with your first point.

        I concede that you are 100% right on the second point, however, that “not all choices with consequences need to be labeled as ‘bad,'” for ALL choices — good, bad, or indifferent — have consequences.

        • My losing 40 lbs last year was a consequence of my cutting sugar out of my diet, which in my opinion was a very good choice.
        • My graduating summa cum laude 30 years ago was a consequence of my choosing to to spend my college years studying rather than partying — another good decision.
        • The fact that I now enjoy a strong and happy marriage is due in large part to my decision to treat my spouse the way I wish to be treated and, by God’s grace, to consider his needs ahead of my own — another very good decision, indeed.

        As for your last point, that is entirely debatable. But one thing I’ve learned from experience: The better the choices you make, the less “messy” life will seem.

        • God does not like ugly. And you have one ugly heart Jennifer Flanders. You are arrogant, self righteous, judgmental…..the epitome of self serving, egotistical, arse and one can only hope and pray that your book flounders as the truth of who you are surfaces to Light. And yes, I’m an independent thinker full of light and love, and have no issue calling people on their bullshit. And if you think you’re doing work for The Lord, know it’s your ego, and not your heart. You lack in the empathy and compassion compartment and it’d do you well to eat a case of humble pie. I tell you this much, NO God seeking human would look to you to guide the way and being a woman of God, you Know that’s what He wants. For His people to go after those who are “lacking” His Truth, His Light, His Love and you are doing the complete opposite just by Being Who You Are.

          Peace and Love….
          peace and love…

          • Thank you for that honest opinion, Brandy. I do not argue that my heart is full of sin (Jeremiah 17:9), and the Bible makes it clear that God does indeed hate sin (Proverbs 6:16-19; Psalm 5:5). He may not “like ugly,” as you observe, but in His unfathomable mercy, He was willing to die for it (Romans 5:8). For that, I am eternally grateful.

            My goal in writing this blog is to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), so that the light of Christ might shine through me (Matthew 5:14-16). I am sorry to hear that you feel I have fallen short of that goal in this post. I promise to work harder in the empathy, compassion, and humility department in the future.

  12. Maybe instead of attacking feminism ideology because you don’t agree with women essentially doing whatever they want with their body’s, you should wonder what’s wrong with society in the first place when we began sexualizing women in almost every possible way…if a woman wants to wear clothes that outline or reveal her physique because she likes it, why does it turn her into a sexual object. Why are BREASTS seen as so sexual that it makes men uncomfortable to see pics of women breastfeeding on social media platforms (their actual purpose…). I sincerely hope you are not also the person that blames rape victims for their own rape because according to you THEY sexualized their body, not society. Also, the whole point of feminism is to let women do what they want! You don’t have to don a business suit (also, can we talk about the need to camouflage/downplay traditional female trait in politics and business…) and refuse to take on traditional gender roles to be a feminist, YOU CAN BE A HOUSEWIFE, or enter the work force, or do whatever you want. It’s a slippery slope, this dismissiveness. The woman shouldn’t have messaged you such rude things, but you shouldn’t have used her message to generalize all people who identify with that ideology. Instead of reading books that are congruent with your options, read books that argue against them. Also, read about the different types of feminism, especially look outside of “White Feminsim.” Honestly, I wish I hadn’t stumbled upon your blog, but I did, and I felt compelled to write to you. I hope you’ll take something out of my words. Good day.

  13. Reading this entry disturbed me greatly. I think that you and the authors of most of these books misunderstand what the essence of feminism actually is; your beliefs are reactionary, not enlightened or progressive. Feminism is not the culprit behind failed marriages, the prevalence of venereal disease, or unplanned pregnancies. I find that claim shocking and, frankly, depressing that you think so poorly of women. Society as a whole had become more loose and more casual. Reverting women to pre-feminism status will cure the world of these things exactly as much as casting men in that role would. Feminism does not demand that women behave immorally or that they become men, it demands that we be accepted and respected in any role we choose for ourselves, no matter how “masculine” or “feminine” the role is perceived to be or how “masculinely” or “femininely” we behave in that role. Men deserve this same courtesy.

    I will also say as a female engineer that you are mistaken if you think the quest for equality is over. I believe the primary reason that professional women often appear to behave more masculinely than any housewife is because appearing too feminine in a field dominated by men can have very real repurcussions in terms of the respect granted and the opportunities made available to us. It is because feminism has not yet succeeded that women are still forced to “act like men” to make (some) men treat us as the capable and intelligent people we are.

    Do not confuse an individual’s ability to make good decisions with an entire gender’s right for freedom and respect.

    • People who act disrespectfully to women just because they are women are disrespectful people in general. A genuinely respectful person will show respect to others, regardless of sex, because it’s the right thing to do. I’m not entirely sure of what you mean by women “acting like men.” If you mean women who want to get ahead in their jobs are forced to be hardworking and dependable without demanding any special concessions, then it makes sense such behavior would garner them respect, as it is respectful behavior. If, on the other hand, you mean that they have to curse and spit and tell lewd jokes to feel accepted, I think they’re trying to please the wrong people. Anyone who responds positively to that sort of behavior is probably only feigning respect while simultaneously rolling his eyes behind the female coworker’s back.

  14. Yes, men and women are different in many ways, but human beings are versatile creatures and we were created to adapt. We are also so much more than our sex and should never be completely defined by it. The roles we choose to take on in our family dynamic should be based on what feels right and true to us as individuals. Many men love being in the kitchen or keeping their home tidy, and many women enjoy being out in the world pursing careers. Most human beings enjoy some balance of both worlds and we have the right to decide what that balance is and live by it. People are so complex that defining our sex by these types of roles limits our potential to grow as individuals, as a society, and as a species. A person’s soul has a journey that is so intricately unique and no one has the qualifications to pass judgment on that journey. WE, are not all knowing and life in general is bigger than we can comprehend. To sum up, I simply want to say follow heart, keep your mind open and embrace balance in all things.

  15. It seems you are inordinately focused on one quote by Simone de Beavoir and a rudely abusive comment on your blog. Just as I’m sure you don’t want to be lumped in with the most radically narrow-minded of “Christians” (who don’t behave in a Christ-like manner at all), we feminists ask that you do not base your judgement of us and our work on this one person’s quote and the comment
    .
    The dictionary defines feminism thusly:
    noun
    1.the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.

    I have also seen a bumper sticker (of all things) that defines it best. “Feminism – the radical notion that women are people.”

    I must agree with the earlier poster who pointed out that feminism and the sexual revolution are NOT the same thing. They came about around the same time, when women were finally granted many of the legal (and social) rights that men had. But feminism doesn’t mean promiscuity.

    You complain about “rampant venereal disease and abortion, escalating rates of single motherhood and the abject poverty that it fosters, and coin-toss marriage survival rates ” and your post places all the blame for those things at the feet of women/feminism. But it takes two to tango. Who gave that woman venereal disease? Who impregnated her and left her without financial support for their child, leaving abortion or single motherhood as her choices (along with adoption)? And who contributes to the downfall of a marriage? Men. I am not male-bashing here. I am simply pointing out that both genders are EQUALLY responsible for the social conditions. BOTH GENDERS. EQUALLY.

    I ask that you prayerfully consider which definition of feminism most feminists live by. I would say that it’s simply the expectation that women are entitled to the same rights as men. (And also for men to have the same rights as women, to stay at home with the children if that is what is best for their own family, to cry openly without being ridiculed, to appreciate things that are typically “women’s domain” etc., and to never be described as “a girl” or “a p*ssy” as if that were a terrible insult.) And then I would ask that you decide if that is something that you are for or against. And then I would hope to be able to welcome you as a fellow feminist.

    I look forward to your reply.

    Kristen

    • I certainly agree that women are people, Kristen, and firmly believe that they are equal to men in worth and value. If that makes me a feminist by your definition, then I won’t argue with you. However, I do not believe that the roles God has assigned to men and women in the context of marriage are identical or interchangeable. In the minds of the majority (not all, but certainly the most vocal sector) of feminists who have taken time to write me, this belief runs counter to everything they hold dear. They would consider it a personal affront for me to style myself a feminist. To them, I am trying to send my sisters back to the dark ages by suggesting they accentuate their differences and joyfully embrace the roles of wife and mother rather than pretending such differences don’t exist and acting in a way that is contrary to their natures.

      Your observation that both genders are equally responsible for the demise of marriage is right on target, though. And while the sexual revolution may not technically be the same thing as feminism, the two are inextricably linked, as the former was touted as a necessary proof of sexual equality. Nevertheless, that revolution has done far more harm than good to society in general and to women and children in particular, largely because it has duped both men and women into believing they can misbehave sexually without consequence. That is an outright lie.

  16. Hot button issue for sure. I worked outside the home due to necessity as a single mom. My husband left us. Nuff said. Then after marrying a second time many years later, I was able to stop, by choice, my decision. I am also a born again, Christ following Christian. I am so thankful that women can vote, make decisions, do most of the things that men can do. We still are not paid the same as a man for the same work. Been there, got the T-shirt. By the way, I have been labeled a prude by my sister for years. I believe modesty encourages us to respect ourselves and demand that respect from others. I have never understood how women can display their private anatomy and still demand that men not look. It is a double standard as are many of the tenants of modern feminism. Women are wired differently, built differently, have different strengths and weaknesses than men. Hallelujah I married a man who understands and appreciates this! We are stronger together than either one would be alone.

  17. I find it sad that so many of these comments reinforce the misconception that you can’t be a feminist and a homemaker at the same time. Feminists fight for the right to be homemakers, loving mothers, and warm supporters of their husbands. So much so in fact, that they want this to be recognized if the husband ever decides to have a divorce and wants to argue that she shouldn’t receive any money because she never “worked.” Also, if you oppose feminism, you also oppose the idea that a man could pursue a life as a stay at home dad (of which there are many) who might even pursue a relationship with a women who could be the breadwinner of his household. No feminist wants to take away the beautiful role of a woman to be a mother and homemaker, even these demonized “second-run feminists” do fight for this.

    • Hi, Alice. I’m afraid your last sentence is rather overstated and misinformed. Unfortunately, there ARE feminists who want very much to take away the beautiful role of a woman to be mother and homemaker, as Simone de Beauvoir sums up succintly: “No woman should be authorized to stay at home and raise her children. Society should be totally different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one.”

      • Thank you Jennifer. Today’s economic situation makes it very difficult for anyone who is not wealthy to stay at home with her/his child. Raising our children 30+ years ago, we paid a financial price for not having that second paycheck. I will never regret, however, time spent with my daughters, teaching them the values and the knowledge that I felt were important. Those who think they can have it all should consider that whoever a child spends the most time with will have a great effect on the kind of person they become. Shouldn’t that person be you?

  18. Hi Jennifer. I am going to read a few of these books in the near future, because I enjoy reading opposing viewpoints and expanding my mind. I am a feminist, but your post indicates to me that you don’t seem to understand what true feminism is. Sure, radical feminism sounds (and frankly, is) ridiculous. But feminism in its truest and more moderate form is a desire for equal opportunity and protection under the law. So, if I want to be able to stay at home with my children, I should be able to. But I should ALSO have the opportunity for equal pay and treatment in the workplace, should I decide to work outside the home. I actually see myself becoming a stay at home mom in the future, despite the fact that I’m quite a “liberal.” Feminism and enjoying “domestic” tasks are not mutually exclusive by any means.

    Your everyday feminist does not hate men. We do recognize that women often experience discrimination and limited opportunities in this society. This is not because all men are “evil” or “oppressive.” If you read into anthropology/sociology, there are a number of different reasonable explanations proposed for why women and men relate to each other the way they do in modern times.

    I’d also like to point out that feminists are who you can thank for having the ability to vote for politicians who support your viewpoint. I may disagree with the sentiments expressed in this post, BUT I respect the fact that humans are never ever ever going to agree on some of these divisive issues. Thank you for providing “food for thought.” 🙂

    Sidenote: This is the first time I’ve come across your blog, and I do plan to read more. The title really fits the things that I value most— my husband, my home, my family, etc.

  19. Thank you for an interesting and informative article written while respecting both sides of the issue. I think that is the missing key to most debates -respect. Certainly will be reading a few of the books you listed.

  20. Hi there,
    this is a really interesting article and I appreciate the perspective very much. I have never really thought of feminism that much at all, but just reading this post has changed that considerably. I’d preferably like to read all of these eventually, but could you recommend a good one to start off with?
    Ashleigh

    • Hi, Ashleigh. I’d recommend reading them in the order listed, although it’s a really close call between those first two. The Flipside of Feminism is a little more current, in that it was published in 2011. What Our Mothers Didn’t Tell Us was published in 2000. But all five titles are really great reads.

  21. Feminism a failed social experiment? No. Feminism is anything BUT a social experiment. Feminism is about killing off misogyny AND misandry, about killing off patriarchy; killing oppression. Not about being “trendy.” This is my first post I’ve ever seen from this blog, and I’m not impressed.

    • I must tell you, Abby, that the majority of self-proclaimed feminists who’ve written to me do not seem very interested in ridding the world of misandry. In fact, I get the impression that they rather enjoy promoting it.

  22. Ohoho. Phyllis Schlafly! I never thought I’d see that name again. Sweetie, that lady did so much harm you can’t begin to calculate it. I pray you never find out, but if one find day your husband decides he’s done with your marriage, or if you’re left to finish raising your family alone for any other reason, you’ll soon find out why ol’ Phyl is not your friend.

  23. If you you ever write another article in regards to must-reads for women, you should add the book “Unseduced and Unshaken” by Dr. Rosalie de Rosset.

  24. I agree with many of the others who have already commented here: Your idea of feminism is lazy and ignorant (sorry to sound so negative, but I can’t think of other words that adequately describe how you’ve presented your understanding of a complex movement/phenomenon). Feminism, exactly as any other movement, must not be defined by its loudest (or most violent) members. Just as Christianity is not to be defined by Westboro, feminism is not to be defined by those who judge and criticize its opponents.

    I am very much a feminist: I stay home with my son, loved being pregnant (no matter how much I complained), put my career on hold to raise my family, support my husband as his career develops and supports our family, do laundry, bake cookies, change diapers, knit, cook, sew, garden, and so many other things you seem convinced that not only would a feminist never do, but would loudly criticize any other woman for doing.

    I am a feminist because I CHOOSE to do these things, not because my husband owns me and informs me that because of our chromosomal differences I am capable only of these things and shall never leave the home to do more. I am not duty-bound by my sex to eschew education, career, independence, power tools, and greater social value. I am not less than my husband, father, brothers, or son.

    Most importantly, I am not defined by my sex. My potential is not defined by my sex. My value is not defined by my sex.

    This, and not the judgmental, promiscuous man-hater, is what a feminist is.

    • It sounds like you’ve made some wise choices, Angela. It was not my intention to imply that women should eschew education and power tools (I was doing graduate work in mathematics when I married my husband, and one of the first and best gifts he ever gave me was a 10-inch band saw). I, too, believe that women are capable of much more than changing diapers, doing laundry, and baking cookies… but that doesn’t mean these mundane, daily tasks are unimportant or of “lesser” social value. Quite the contrary. Our wombs and our breasts may not define us, but they certainly equip us to do something vitally important — something no man will ever be able to do. Granted, a husband’s contribution to this process is indispensable, but our roles are not interchangeable and never will be.

      • You seem to be referring to the biological contributions of men, which are of course indispensible and not interchangeable. But your other views seem to closely align with the feminism you’ve chosen to malign. How is taking advantage of the benefits and freedoms only feminism has brought women in itself not feminism? I don’t understand how a woman whose life as it is today is created only because of these freedoms could not identify as a feminist. Maybe the problem with the feminist identity is that it’s understood in a way I see as fundamentally reversed: a person is not a feminist and therefore holds some ideas; a person has ideas (or lives and behaves in a certain way) and therefore uses the term “feminist” to describe her or himself.

        I understand that there are negative associations with feminism, but they tend only to exist when a person sees feminism as a club one can only belong to if they rigidly adhere to aggressive, judgmental, man-hating views and behavior. But this is not always, necessarily, or even frequently what a feminist is. So I guess I’m asking, what’s wrong with identifying as a feminist and setting that positive example for your community and family?

        • You make an excellent point, Angela. Setting a positive example for my family and community has always been a high priority of mine. But I dislike labels in general, and the “feminist” label in particular, as labels often mean drastically different things to different groups.

          Those who know me, who have observed my life and have spoken to me at length about such matters, know beyond a shadow of doubt that I believe all people — women included — should be treated with dignity, kindness, and respect. They can testify that I value education as highly for myself and my daughters as I do for my husband and sons. And they know that it makes me angry to think that anyone (past, present, or future) would use or abuse or exploit or objectify a woman and treat her like a piece of property rather than the invaluable person she is, a person with rights and hopes and dreams and intellect, a person created in the very image of God.

          Perhaps in your mind, these beliefs would qualify me as a feminist.

          But I also believe that God instituted the family to function in a certain way: that when a man and a woman marry, it should be for life, that the children they bear should love, honor, respect, and obey their parents as their God-given authority, and that the wife should love, honor, respect, and defer to her husband as the head of the home.

          To a radical feminist, those notions are anathema and represent everything that is wrong with the world. In her mind, it would be a farce and an insult for me to claim to be a feminist while holding to such offensive, antiquated views.

          So I choose not to label myself as such.

      • Jennifer,

        You choose not to identify as feminist because “radical feminists” deride family values. By this way of reasoning, I would choose not to identify as Christian because some “radical Christians” believe that women should not vote, work, or even be educated.

        The extreme view belongs to the minority. It does not define the movement. I am a feminist, yet I believe that women must have the right to choose to care for their family as stay-at-home-mothers. On the flip side, I also believe that they must have the right to choose a definition of success that evokes economic and political power.

        And there lies the issue. You take it for granted that women are fundamentally the supportive wife, the nurturing mother. I come from a different background and in my experience, women are just as hungry for careers as men. Personally, I lead a rich life by pursuing a challenging (but highly enjoyable) career. I am also in a loving long-term relationship, but I did not sacrifice my fulfilling work to pursue a happy home. Instead, we both made equal sacrifices to maintain our relationship. I do not submit — I negotiate and compromise to ensure my happiness as well as his. In your worldview, I have made the “wrong” choices, yet I am completely happy. In fact, I have had the experience of minding the home and hearth and found it mind-numbing, exhausting, and unpleasant. Will you admit that your definition of feminine power just will not suffice for many women?

  25. This site makes me sick. Where do you get these ideas that men should lead and women should follow. I know, from the Bible, right? If you want to live your lives by an ancient tome, that’s fine. I respect the Bible very much and its contributions to Western civilization, but the sexist verses you promote on here as biblical womanhood were written in a time when men treated their livestock better than women and many people abandoned their female babies.

    Please do not try to take away the voting rights feminists fought for me for. What makes you happy may not make me happy. I vote and I’m proud of it and I LOVE my job. I believe in God and Jesus, but not the sick and twisted version presented on this site.

  26. I love your blog and the words you choose to describe marriage, but I have to say this post disappointed me, Feminism is not the bra burning, man hating, war-cry you are making it out to be. Feminism means equality. That’s it. Do you believe women are equally as valuable as men? Then you are a feminist. I know that pop culture has thwarted the meaning of the word to bring to mind a picture of hippie lesbians burning their bras and declaring war on the opposite sex; but pop culture has also thwarted the meaning of family, sex, and God, and no one is clinging to those new meanings for these words identifying good things. I have been studying marriage for a while and am in love with God’s design for it- that men and women have different roles, that the man gets to lead and the woman gets to be a helper suitable and it creates this perfect dance. In no way is God’s design opposed to feminism, as God cherishes women and men alike, and I’m saddened that the beauty of equality has been degraded to what is described in this post.

    • Sunny,
      Being that the term feminism has some negative connotations in Christian culture, the writer here (in the article and in the comments) has taken in to account that it is important to define what she means by feminism. The English language, through the centuries and through the decades has changed a great deal. Each person has different experiences and ideals which may seem hard to grasp by others either from misunderstanding or pure disagreement. All misunderstanding should be resolved before we can determine whether we agree with an idea or not. There are also those ideas which we have in our minds that we may give a specific term to, but the same beliefs and ideas living inside another person’s head may be defined in a different way by them. So, how do you know what a person really means?…. Description, explanations and so on. Sometimes we need to be the dictionaries and translators of our own ideas for those we are trying to communicate with. In the case of the term “feminism” there are many connotations both positive and negative. Therefore we must define our terms. You can’t use a word that is pregnant with meaning and expect others to get your point without “delivering” your own definition. That is why feminism is good to you but not to the writer. You are saying the same thing but differently. 🙂

  27. Hi
    Tanks for your emails they are really helpful,the advice,sharing, are amazing i have learn a lot since i subscribed to your site.

    May you keep up your good work and our Good and Loving Lord will continue to bless you abundantly.

    Thank you

    Warmest regards
    Sonto Ntuli
    South Africa

    • If feminism were truly about expanding the choices available to women, the answer might be “nothing.” But such is not the case, as revealed by feminist Simone de Beauvoir’s chilling appraisal: “No woman should be authorized to stay at home and raise her children. Society should be totally different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one.”

    • The fact that the choice exists at all. Until the twentieth century and feminism, there was no choice. A woman was her father’s (and then her husband’s) legal and social inferior. There was no real, significant, and in many cases legal, place for a woman outside the home. Feminism made it possible for a woman to CHOOSE to stay at home rather than be required to do so social or legal mandate.

      • Here, here! I feel that women who have professions, education, and the ability to make choices about whether to stay home, work, or stay home and work, are being a bit hypocritical when they criticize feminism. Without feminism, we would be *forced* to stay at home, or *forced* to work outside it due to poverty.

  28. I am so sorry that this woman responded to you the way that she did. I often wonder why it is, that some feminist think that using vulgar and inappropriate language, is ok. I am not a feminist. I believe that women who put the Lord God, first and foremost in their life, and that love their husband’s and children from the heart, are what this country truly needs. We need to put God first. We need to love our families, and be there when they come home from school/work. Have someone to talk to and express how their day was. To be involved in their lives. To have family supper time together. My husband and I, made the decision (after having our daughter) to cut back in buying alot of material things that we truly don’t need, and instead invest it in our family. We do not receive any public assistance, my husband works everyday and I work a part time job in the am, when they are in school. I do not regret one moment being home with my children when they come home. It is my belief that our children have benefitted more from this, than any other material object that we could have gotten them. Now, it is true that some families need for Mom to work, and I know that must be very hard. To leave your babies for the whole day and have someone else raise them. I admire them and we need to help these Mom’s as much as we can. But, I chose to stop having my hair done professionally, getting my nails done and buying the latest and greatest. My payoff, is a little person coming to you and saying, Momma, I love you so much! That means so much more to me, then any material thing I could purchase. I pray that God Blesses the feminist woman and enlightens her that we are not archaic in our thinking. We have made this decision to put God and our families first because it is important to us and it is what we believe is best for our families. Sorry for the long reply. God Bless:)

    • With all due respect you should be saying “You often wonder why it is, that some 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦 think that using vulgar and inappropriate language, is ok.” Not all feminists just spew cuss words (Like me.) If someone cusses it’s because they choose to, it no more because they’re a feminist than it is because of their gender, race, of religion. People curse. That’s the phrase you’re looking for.
      Secondly, feminism is the idea that men and women are equal, have the same ability to make decisions. Some of those being the ability to decide whether you want to stay at home or go and work and have a job. Feminism isn’t about forcing women into the working world and taking them away from their children, it’s about being not being misogynistic 𝘰𝘳 misandrist.
      This last thing is my opinion as I don’t speak for all feminist on this behalf since it’s more of a personal thing. I think that you’re outlook on working is a double standard. The fact that you raise your children while your husband works and they love you for being there for them means that your children never say “I love you, daddy?” I’m fourteen, only child, and I’ve lived alone with my father for as long as I can remember. (With the exception of pets.) My mother died when I was an infant, when I was younger my dad worked all the time and I stayed at my elementary school’s day-care most of the afternoon. The fact that I didn’t see him as much didn’t mean that I wasn’t close to him. I love my dad, especially as a kid I was closer to him than most children were to their parents and I definitely said “I love you” to him. The fact that dad worked to keep a roof over our head and my mother wasn’t there to baby me doesn’t mean that I’ve grown up into a trouble kid that hates my father.

  29. thanks you for standing up for the women who have chosen a better life than the one offered by feminism…keep up the good work!

    • A better life? For you, maybe. But I am delighted at the options I have today because of feminism. I do not want to be in my house all day. I don’t mind cooking and cleaning but I am not a washing machine for my husband. If I’m too tired, he can do his own laundry.

  30. I agree with the above comments that women have taken feminism too far. God made us equal in WORTH to men – not equal in every single aspect of our lives. Women are the heart of their home and their communities. It is us who actively promote love to our neighbours and keep our churches humming. Yes, I see what the first wave of feminism did for women – I’m glad I can vote and have my say in the world I live in. I’m also glad women are now paid properly for the work they do. I’m a mother and wife who stays at home to care for her family (yes, I do see myself as extremely blessed and fortunate to be able to do this) and I see the value of what I contribute. The work I do is written in the Bible and I’m glad to be able to fulfill the duty that God has set before me. The work I do is equal in worth to the work of my husband who earns the money to provide for our family.
    I have friends who are feminists (some are radical!) and although I may not agree with everything they stand for, they are women with beautiful hearts who are heavily involved in their communities. I think it’s time women started being more of a sisterhood, and less about comparing and criticising each other.

  31. I agree with you 100%. I read The Flipside of Feminism awhile ago and plan to re-read it again sometime this year!! FABULOUS BOOK!!! I’m going to review it on my blog after my second read 🙂 I’m currently reading A Return to Modesty which is also super good so far! What Our Mothers Didn’t Tell Us and Prude are already on my reading list; I’ll have to add A Case for Marriage. Great post! Thanks for sharing the great list 🙂

  32. Hi, Jennifer. Thank you for listing all of these books. They look like a great way to inform oneself on both sides of the issue. Personally, I identify as a feminist, but I find myself in the very strange and often lonely corner of Christian and feminist. Unfortunately, most conservative Christians judge all feminists by a very loud minority of feminists. In fact, within feminism there are several different strains or “feminisms.” I hold to the first wave of feminism—the one that brought women the right to vote and work and own property and legally have as much power as men. I think these books are lashing out against second-wave feminism, which has indeed taken things too far in many ways. But I still identify as a feminist because many problems that Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott fought against still exist: the wage gap, discrimination against mothers (and potential mothers) in the work place, the porn industry, etc. I will definitely add these books to my to-read list, as I try to be open-minded to both sides of this issue.

    • Ariel, I completely agree with you. I do not claim to be a feminist though, as today’s connotation of feminism includes the ideals of second-wave feminism. Men and women are indeed very equal in worth, and women should never be treated as though they are less than men.

      I think you can fight for women without joining the feminist movement, and it seems to me that this is exactly what Jennifer Flanders does. To do so, we are calling women to embrace their femininity & submit themselves to living as God our creator has designed us to live! This is the true way to empower women to live a life that is free from the pressure/burden of trying to be the same as men.

      • So am I wrong if I’d rather have a career and travel than have a family and stay at home? Why is it wrong for me, as a woman, to not want a family? I think I should be able to have the life I want, even if it means being career oriented instead of family oriented. I don’t think this makes me “godless.”

        • I never said pursuing a career or travel makes a person godless, nor do I believe that. When I used the word godless in this post, I had in mind a society that has rejected God’s Word and lives as if He doesn’t even exist. But as I think on it now, the word doesn’t really capture the full problem. It isn’t so much that our society is “godless” — it’s just that they have substituted a lot of little-g-gods for the one true God. For some, those false gods are money, careers, or fame. For others, they are husband, home, and children. Anytime we run after anything harder than we run after God, we are guilty of idolatry. That doesn’t mean the things we are pursuing are necessarily bad things — just that we are pursuing them in an imbalanced way.

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